I found the owls (Randonautica Series): I talk about some of the strangeness and patterns that have emerged during my own randonauting trips. Plus, I tell the story of some freaky fire-related synchronicities that have happened since last week.
• Three fires I’ve encountered since recording the last episode
• Ominous warnings from Randonautica
• Lots of owl lawn decorations!
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Episode Script for I found the owls (Randonautica Series)
DISCLAIMER: I’m providing this version of the script for accessibility purposes. It hasn’t been proofread, so please excuse typos. There are also some things that may differ between the final episode and this draft script. Please treat the episode audio as the final product.
- In the last couple episodes, I talked about some experiences of synchronicity that I’d experienced while randonauting, as well as randonaut’s seeming fixation with bringing me back to a place that I was both obsessed with and repelled by, the part of the Hell Gate by Astoria Park.
- In this episode, I wanted to talk about some of the themes I’ve seen crop up repeatedly while randonauting.
- However, before I get into the episode, I wanted to talk about several weird synchronicities that happened in the last week or so:
- Firefighters in building (week of 5/2? Or end of week before)
- Exploding battery (5/5)
- Fire a block away (5/9)
- The synchronicities seem to support my idea that the more you talk about randonauting, the more synchronicities you encounter. Especially since last week I talked a lot about accidents involving fire.
- Also, disclaimer, while I’ve said again and again in this series how important it is to write down your randonauting experiences immediately after having them, I apparently, and in typical form, did not follow my own advice. In retrospect, I know why this happened: a lot of the I’ve gone randonauting at night while running, and then I get home and need to hurry up and take a shower and go to bed, but I am annoyed at my past self. So, again, write down your trips if you’re able to, because that’s what’s going to allow you to see patterns.
- Anyway, I’m going to draw from the 16 trips that I did take detailed notes for.
- Here are the patterns I’ve found recur most often for me:
- It takes me to an extremely literal interpretation of my intention
- It brings me to an alternative version of what I asked for (maybe because it couldn’t bring me to what I asked for for some reason?)
- It takes me somewhere I’ve been thinking about
- It seems to have a sense of humor
- Let’s go through these one-by-one
Extremely literal interpretations of my intention
- Here are some examples:
- Intention: something to make me feel at peace
- it sent me to a yoga studio
- It’s hard to take that intention more literally than literally bringing someone to a yoga studio
- Intention: reconnect with nature
- It brought me to a tree-lined street in Sunnyside, which is a neighborhood in western Queens. There was a big line of people waiting at a church or community center (weird to see at that point in the pandemic, unsure of what the line was for, but I assume some sort of aid.) I went around the block to avoid the crowd and ended up at Sunnyside Gardens, which of course have lovely gardens.
- I also saw a blue mylar balloon at Sunnyside Gardens, which felt like a wink, like it was like, “I heard you like these, so here you go.”
- Intention: star
- It sent me to Crescent Street. Immediately I thought, that’s like a crescent moon, which is in the sky next to the stars. Many businesses there are adorned with moons.
- Then, I passed a temple with a star of David (one carved one over the doorway, two stained glass windows); that was notable since there aren’t many temples in Astoria. I know of two of them, and Yelp agrees, though I could be wrong. But at any rate, there are a bunch of churches here and very few temples, so it stood out to me that it brought me by a temple with the “star” intention.
- On my run back, I noticed an arched window on a door with a star (or half a star) inlaid into the flat bottom part of the arch.
- During the run, I swung by Astoria park, which is where you’d go if you wanted to stargaze. I only noticed a few stars in the sky, plus something that seemed like a satellite.
- Unrelated, but there were the remains of a ritual or shrine in the middle of the sidewalk by the water, with lots of white candles. It was a slightly broken circle of 7-day candles, and smaller white candles melted into sand and pebbles in the middle. They weren’t lit. It’s not so unusual to see 7-day candles burning along the Astoria waterfront, but they aren’t an everyday occurrence, so they stood out to me.
- Intention: ghost
- The exact point was at the hidden cemetery behind St. George’s Church.
- I also ran by a bunch of the old Astoria mansions, which have a very haunted vibe, and a ton of Halloween decorations, because it was September.
- Intention: diamond
- On my way to the point, I took a wrong turn, which made me pass a fenced-in large driveway/small parking lot with a fence made of vertical iron bars with diamond shaped adornments that were painted a metallic gold. They looked recently painted, no chipped paint. That, to me, felt like a very clear response to the intention.
- Unrelated, it also brought be to a part of the neighborhood that I don’t go to very often, which resulted in me seeing a bunch of really unique Halloween decorations that I never would have seen otherwise. Those include: a house with inflatable dragons, a headless horseman, an a looming pumpkin-headed man underneath a vine-covered part of the Hell Gate Bridge viaduct.
- Intention: owl
- I got to the point and there was just a long, dark side yard passageway. Disappointed, I headed away, crossing to the other side of the street and walking north toward Astoria Boulevard. Then I saw a tiny metal own on a stick in a garden. Beneath it was the word “autumn.” I took a picture, and then I noticed a plastica owl, which looked sort of like a scarecrow-style owl. I was excited to have seen two whole owls! There were other figurines and statues in the yard, so I photographed some of the non-owl ones. Just as I was turning to leave, I saw another owl, another plastic, sort of realistic/scarecrow type. I took a picture of it, and then I saw in the background another owl, a weird one made of cloth. It hung from the brick wall of the house. It was anthropomorphic, wearing an apron and bow at her neck, with arms, but the face was distinctly an owl, with a beak, wide eyes, and that sort of chevron-shaped crest of feather on top (sewn from a contrasting fabric.) It looked almost homemade. So that was four owls in the yard near the point.
- Intention: owl (I did this immediately after the previous one, starting from the point with four owls)
- From there, I set off to another point. On the way there, I passed plenty of other lawn figurines: pink flamingos, eagles, gnomes, fairies, frogs, and turtles. But no owls. The building at the point was a large tenement-style place, with an alleyway behind it. Nothing owl-like there.
- Disappointed, I went for a walk at Astoria Park. On my way home, instead of going my usual route, I walked back the way I came. A few blocks away from the point, I spotted a cute ornamental owl hanging from a tree, which I hadn’t noticed before. It looked hand-painted.
- Then, as I took pictures of other garden statues, I spotted two more owls toward the fence by the backyard. They were both of the scarecrow variety, plastic and realistic-looking. One sat at around ground level, its head moved to stare at the fence, and the other was up on top of a flagpole in the backyard, facing away from the sidewalk. Three owls this time!
- Note: I didn’t see owl figurines anywhere else during this 5-mile walk, aside from those two yards near the points that Randonautica sent me to.
- Intention: something to make me feel at peace
Alternative version of what I asked for
- Sometimes, Randonautica brings me to what I consider a surrogate for my intention. So it’s not the exact intention, but it’s something close. Sometimes I wonder if maybe because it couldn’t bring me to what I asked for for some reason, but who knows why this happens.
- The weird thing is that this has happened when I’ve set intentions that I know have corresponding objects within the radius I set, but it doesn’t bring me to the things I know about, instead bringing me to something similar, but not quite the same. I like to do this sometimes just to test it out and see if it’ll bring me to the thing that I know exists and more literally represents the intention. I’m not sure if maybe it doesn’t like me testing it, or what, but sometimes I almost feel like it’s choosing something similar but not exact just to spite me, or tease me. Then again, maybe I’m attributing more agency to it than it deserves. I just can’t help feeling that whatever force animates Randonautica is a little mischievous and snarky.
- Intention: owl
- I was disappointed not to see an owl near the point, but I kept running, and then, a bird swooped low over me. It glided almost like how an owl would, quietly and without flapping much. It turned so it was out of sight, and then came back toward me. I saw then that it was a juvenile seagull behaving in a very owl-like way.
- Intention: ghost
- I did this trip in September, so there were tons of ghost Halloween decorations that I knew were near where I was starting out from. Curious whether Randonautica would send me there, I set the intention of “ghost.”
- Instead of bringing me to any of the ghost decorations I knew were around, it brought me by:
- a plush snowman in a tree (I don’t know why someone, in September, put a snowman in a tree, but it was hovering there just above eye level as I ran by),
- a funeral home,
- just past the point, I saw religious images in a window, including a very ghostly, ethereal Jesus, and what looked like a saint card for a female saint who I didn’t recognize, but who was dressed like a nun.
- To me, all of those things represented a ghost in different ways.
- The snowman plush was a white object vaguely resembling a ghost, “hovering” above me in the tree
- The funeral home is an obvious one
- The religious images looked ghostly, but also you can think about the holy ghost in that context as well
Somewhere I’ve been thinking about
- I think I mentioned this is a prior episode, but multiple times, I’d considered going somewhere, decided against it, and then Randonautica brought me there anyway, sometimes even ignoring my original intention.
- My theory for why this happens is that while I set an intention, some part of my mind was still thinking of the original place that I had considered going to. So then instead of following my intention, it sends me to that place.
- Let’s get into some examples.
- Intention: something to make me feel at peace
- This was the same day that I mentioned earlier, where it sent me to the yoga studio. Then, from the yoga studio, I set the same intention again.
- That day, I had thought about going to Roosevelt Island, but then decided against it. Roosevelt Island was way far outside of the original radius I had set. However, the first point brought me a lot closer to Roosevelt Island.
- For the second point, it brought me to a random warehouse. I was disappointed because it clearly had nothing to do with my intention. And then I realized that the warehouse it had brought me to was only a few blocks away from the bridge to Roosevelt Island. So I decided to go to the island, since I was already so close.
- This was a clever one, I think, because it found a way to bring me to the place I’d been thinking about even though it’d been too far away from my starting point.
- Intention: go on an adventure
- That day, I’d considered going to the Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead, but I decided not to because it was further than I felt like running that evening.
- This was early on in my randonauting, before I realized you could change the radius, so when I requested a point Randonautica directed me to the car rental place at Laguardia airport, which was 4 blocks away from the homestead.
- I still didn’t go because it was too far, but this struck me as really funny, like the animating force behind Randonautica had a sense of humor.
- Not only did it want me to go to the place I’d been thinking about going, but I said I wanted to go on an adventure, and it said, “oh, okay, I’ll send you on an adventure–go to the airport and get on a plane, or at least in a car.”
- Intention: chose an intention based on a tarot card (9 of Wands reversed, which I read as burnout, doubt, pointless struggle, needing to set boundaries). Ao I decided to ask it to show me something that evokes a sense of wonder and encourages me to focus on the stuff I’m excited about (paranormal, occult, history.)
- It sent me to a car repair shop that was right next to St. Michael’s Cemetery.
- Earlier in the day, I considered going to the cemetery but decided against it. Since I was already so close to the cemetery–I was as close as Randonautica could have sent me based on the radius I gave it, which did not include the cemetery–I decided to drop by.
- I thought it’d be closed, but it turns out it was open till 5 pm so I was able to go in for a half hour or so.
- Also, on the way there, I saw: a house with windows covered with astrological symbols and moons, a building with classical women’s heads except one was worn down and one looked like Cernunnos (I just rewatched Hellier the day before), a mural of the Hell Gate Bridge, street art being painted, a gate made of arrows, and a bunch of other stuff.
- All of that was also very on the nose for my intention of showing me paranormal, occult, and historical stuff that I was excited about
A sense of humor
- I think the previous examples also give a taste of what I at least interpret as a sense of humor that tends to run through these trips.
Other weird randonauting trips
- One other odd thing that I’ve noticed is that multiple times, Randonautica has brought me to the home of someone I know. Of course I do know a decent number of people in the neighborhood, but still. There are almost 100,000 people who live in my neighborhood, so it strikes me as odd when it chooses to bring me to the home of someone I know.
- There have always been very real, clear reasons why Randonautica has sent me to the homes of people I knew, but I’m not going to get very deep into those reasons.
- I’ll just give one example:
- Intention: dragon
- This trip happened shortly after the events at the Hell Gate that I talked about in the last episode, after which things started to go a little askew in some parts of my life.
- Randonautica sent me to the home of my boss (at the time.)
- I thought that was kind of funny, and I sort of chastised Randonautica for being kind of rude. I was kinda like, c’mon, my boss is a nice person, I would never describe them as a dragon.
- I won’t go into more detail than this, but, a couple months later, when I was laid off from that job, I suddenly realized that it was a very specific warning that I should have heeded.
- Instead of asking myself what Randonautica was maybe trying to tell me, I ignored any potential message and was just like, “well, that’s funny, but off topic.”
- Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything I necessarily could or would have done differently had I heeded the warning. But I think that if I had been more willing to engage with what Randonautica was trying to tell me, I would have noticed some things that were going on a little more quickly, and I probably could have been more psychologically prepared for what would unfold over the next few months.
- So, let that be a lesson to you: If Randonautica leads you to something where there’s a clear potential message, but it seems outlandish or like you don’t want to believe it, just allow yourself to consider the possibility that it might be trying to tell you something.
- And of course, at the same time, don’t let your interpretations of your randonauting trips drive too much of your behavior or decision making.
- Like I said, if I had heeded the warning, nothing of my outward behavior at work would have changed. But I might have started applying for jobs and psychologically preparing myself for the possibility that my time at that job was going to end. I think that just those two behaviors might have saved me months of anxiety; or at least they might have alleviated a bit of that anxiety.
- Intention: dragon
- And that’s it for Randonautica! If you end up doing some randonauting and find some interesting stuff, please let me know! I’ve already heard some cool stories from folks trying Randonautica out after listening to these episodes, so please keep ‘em coming.
- Next time, I’ll finally begin my promised deep dive into the Old Alton Bridge.
- But until then, you can:
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Sources consulted RE: The Despair Meme and the Hell Gate
Books consulted: The Despair Meme and the Hell Gate
- The Official Guide to Randonautica: Everything You Need to Know about Creating Your Random Adventure Story by Joshua Lengfelder and Auburn Salcedo (2021): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55710642-the-official-guide-to-randonautica
Don’t miss past episodes:
- Escaping the Probability Tunnel (Randonautica Series)
- Strange Randonautica Synchronicity (Randonautica Series)
- The Despair Meme and the Hell Gate (Randonautica Series)
- How to Ghost Hunt By Yourself Using the Solo Estes Method
- Investigating the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Part 1
- Investigating the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Part 2
- Investigating the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Part 3, and the Salem Marine Society
- Ghosts of Mount Beacon (Beacon, NY)